3 Ways to Level Up Your Leadership

To level up your leadership means you are a constant learner. You are willing to put in the work to hone your craft so that those you lead can be more effective. Being a learner ensures you stay current in the field and grow instead of stagnate.

There are many ways to level up your leadership. However, cherry picking random leadership growth opportunities will not always produce desired results. By following the level up ladder, you will gain momentum because it categorizes learning strategies and opportunities that build off one another. Each rung on the ladder supports the efforts that come afterwards, creating a strong foundation for rapid growth.

Leveling up leadership happens in three sequential categories: experiences, capacity and practice.

Experiences in Leadership

To grow as a leader, you need leadership experiences. Whether these opportunities are given to you or you create them yourself, it is best to go after a variety of leadership experiences in the fastest period of time. For example, instead of being a cooperating teacher for student teachers numerous years in a row, you’ll want to diversify your leadership skillset and try a new role like new colleague mentorship. Trying out different roles allows you to use your experience from one role to be successful in the next one, without simply repeating the same experience over and over. You are much more valuable as a leader if you have five years of different leadership experiences than five years of the same role, for example. One gives you years of experience and the other gives you experiences over the years. It is important to mention, although you want varied experiences, you don’t want to change roles constantly. You certainly need time to learn a role and get good at it before moving on. When your growth trajectory starts to slow down or stagnate, it’s time to look for your next learning opportunity!

Various leadership roles could be: cooperating teacher, colleague mentor, program director, content specialist, instructional coach, professional development presenter, subject area facilitator, or administrator.

Reach out to leaders on your campus to share your desire to grow your skillset. Many opportunities at the state and district level are shared with your admin team. If they know you are looking, they can recommend you or pass on the opportunity when it comes.

Capacity in Leadership

Some leaders have a variety of experiences, but they aren’t actually becoming stronger leaders. This is because they are not:

a) spending enough time in a role

b) receiving guidance in their role

c) being intentional about growing

d) or made to lead others

Capacity refers to one’s ability and potential. Ensure you use your varied leadership experiences to get stronger at leading others. You can attend workshops, participate in book studies, find a mentor, join a collaborative group, or receive feedback from those you lead and who lead you.

Practice in Leadership

The final rung on your leadership ladder is to practice! Many leaders stagnate because they have had lots of leadership experiences, grown their own capacity tremendously and now are running on auto pilot. Just because you have been a great leader in the past does not guarantee you'll always be a great leader in the future Click To Tweet. You have to put in the work every day, whether it’s your first day or fifty first day. Keep applying yourself, reading current research on leadership, connecting with other great leaders, and trying out innovative approaches. Leadership is not passive; it’s a daily choice made up of persistence and muscle.

Set goals for yourself every quarter and revisit them throughout the year as you progress. Stay hungry as a learner and you’ll always find something new to try. (See what other great educators are doing in their schools and districts here.)





How do you plan to level up your leadership this new year?


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About the author, Gretchen

I am a teacher trainer and coach. Working elbow to elbow with teachers and teacher leaders to ensure instructional proficiency and student achievement soar lights me up. We have a real need in our nation for strong educators to remain in the field. My blog, book, podcast, courses and instructional materials are geared towards empowering teachers (and those that lead them) to receive the support needed to grow and thrive today, tomorrow and always.